HR take great care when devising and developing their onboarding process for new recruits, however, when people decide to leave the company, it's often a different matter. Offboarding should be just as important as welcoming new employees but it's often neglected.
Professionals that have decided to move on are often disregarded. After all, they're no longer working at your organization so why does their experience matter? With social media and employee recommendation sites like Glassdoor being a popular way for people to rate their past and present employers, ensuring you leave on happy terms is more important than ever.
There is also a lot to be said for old fashioned word of mouth. People network and talk to friends, family and acquaintances about their job, previous experience and how good a certain employer is. It can take just one quick conversation or even a sentence that deters the perfect candidate from applying for a role at your company, and you would never know about it. As you can imaging, the real impact is much harder to measure.
Even if you've ensured that you have a strong brand identity, or EVP, treating people poorly when they leave can sour a previously positive relationship. This means that all the time and effort you've put into creating a supportive and rewarding working environment is instantly destroyed because you didn't think about offboarding.
So how do you help employees leave on a high?
1. Communicate their departure
To avoid rumors spreading, it's important that you tell the team and the company that an individual is leaving as soon as possible. This is especially true when you may be recruiting internally for the position, as you can involve the departing employee in the process.
You should make it clear to other professionals who will be taking over their responsibilities and what the plan for their exit is. For example, if you'll be having a temporary person take on their role until you can find a full-time replacement, it's crucial that the department and wider business know what will be happening in the interim.
2. Initiate a handover process
Whether you already have a replacement before the employee leaves, are holding interviews or are having someone take over in the interim, it's important that you involve the departing employee in a handover. This not only honors the role they had within the company, but also ensures that there is minimal disruption to service as a result of their exit.
A handover should involve a thorough detailing of the job's key responsibilities as well as any problem areas or potential red flags. Involving a departing employee in this way ensures that they don't feel disposable and that their contribution to the company is valued and can't be easily replaced.
3. Conduct an exit interview
The lasting impact of exit interviews has been widely debated but when implemented as part of a wider offboarding process, it can be an important platform to ensure employees voice any concerns and leave on a positive note. As well as helping people to depart the company feeling as though their opinions are valued, it also helps HR to identify areas where the organization can improve.
Often, people keep small concerns or irritations to themselves but an exit interview is the perfect opportunity to voice these. Whether it's a certain management style that grates on them or a particular process that has wasted endless hours of their time, these talks can identify problems no employee would tell you.
4. Thank and reward
The most important step in offboarding is to take the time to thank and reward employees for their contribution to the company. This usually involves getting a leaving present for the resigning professional and a speech from their Manager or the MD, depending on the situation. It can also be an opportunity to provide them with letters of reference and anything else you think may ease their transition into their new job.
These may seem like small gestures but can have a massive impact on how previous employees feel about your organization.